What should I do this afternoon? Take the 10-year-old to a 2:00 screening of Where the Wild Things are in East Hampton, or stay home and make a Zebra Cake (page 55) from my just-shipped new book? Here's the recipe:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, line with a circle of parchment paper, grease the parchment, and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, stir in the milk, butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Stir in the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time.
- Transfer 1/3 of the batter into another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder.
- Place 1/4 cup of the vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it stand for a few seconds so it spreads out slightly. Place 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right on top of the vanilla and wait another few seconds until it spreads. Continue, alternating vanilla and chocolate, until you have used up all of the batter and it has spread to the edges of the pan.
- Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto a cutting board. Peel away the parchment paper. Re-invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slice and serve.
- Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.